CURRENT TRANSFORMERS COMICS FROM IDW PUBLISHING
Transformers: Escalation #2 (of 6)
#12 of an ongoing arc
Reviewed by Denyer
We seem to be on a roll. Art and colouring are great, story
is hotting up, two covers that are directly relevant to the issue contents.
Transformers for the twenty-first century and not a rubsign or fanwank
reference to toy exclusives in sight.
As the letters page spells out, this creative team are
aiming to bring back a sense of wonder to the “robots in disguise” concept, and
on a more minor point, the writing’s doing a solid job of recapping events from
last issue and from Infiltration, without the flashbacks and dialogue
references feeling too heavy-handed. It’s still a story anyone can pick up at
this issue and get grounded in the fiction that’s being built.
One point I particularly like is Starscream being kept out
of things after his literal gutting at the hands of Megatron in a previous arc.
The Decepticons talk amongst themselves about having had the temerity to lock
weapons on their leader, then commiserate that they’re better off than the air
commander. Starscream’s probably due back at some point – the characters are
quite realistically very hard to kill with any permanence (although we haven’t
seen any head atomisation yet, for instance) but the consequences of the
confrontation are being upheld for now.
Furman’s attracted a bit of flak for making the senator a
neocon Republican, though I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure any
Americans that the rest of the world thinks most politicians, be they either
side of a mainly two-party system and American or not, include plenty of
So I’ll wrap up with a short off-topic quote from Albert
Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986): “When I received the Nobel Prize, the only big lump
sum of money I have ever seen, I had to do something with it. The easiest way
to drop this hot potato was to invest it, to buy shares. I knew World War II
was coming and I was afraid that if I had shares which rise in case of war, I
would wish for war. So I asked my agent to buy shares which go down in the
event of war. This he did. I lost my money and saved my soul.”
Prime has a hands-on style of leadership, getting
information out of a rather shaken Ironhide (and calling him ‘big red’ as a
familiarity.) He also goes after the ‘remains’ personally, and turns out to a
better detective than Prowl, surmising that the cover-up was to stop any
immediate search for Sunstreaker.
Ironhide goes from shock at the level of damage apparently
done to Sunstreaker, to an assumption of Decepticon action and wanting to take
the fight to them.
Verity and Jimmy also aren’t too sanguine by this point,
Megatron has the Decepticons tiptoeing around him, carrying
out orders to the letter. (The battlechargers, in particular, are doing a good
three-bags-full-sir rendition.) Though he’s clearly decided to stay and
investigate the super-Energon personally, the whimsical excuse given is that he
wants to try out his new… wait for it… gun mode.
The Machination are dog-killing bastards. They also aren’t
particularly impressed with giant, armed robots, having tech of their own
sufficient to incapacitate them.
Jazz and Wheeljack work effectively together, with plenty of
camaraderie between them.
Facsimiles are grown in fusion tubes, are bio-tech in
nature, and can even be implanted with memory engrams taken from the original
subject. They may not be aware that they’re facsimiles. However, they’re prone
to malfunction and the Decepticons prefer to keep the original subject on ice
so that more can be produced.
Phase two of the Decepticon infiltration protocol is
political agitation leading to mutually assured destruction for the native
populations of a planet.
Megatron is the first time in this continuity we’ve seen a
Transformer with an alt-mode that requires substantial mass-displacement in
order to function.
Whilst the Machination agents’ electro-scramblers are
effective, the short-range missile subsequently used on Jazz and Wheeljack
doesn’t appear to do a great deal of damage, only flooring the two and slowing
It seems a little odd that Prime apparently didn’t try to
take the injured (dead?) Machination agent in for questioning. Or maybe this
was the intention, but the lights and sirens in the distance are assumed to be
law enforcement / backup troops and he doesn’t want to break cover any further
Prime’s holo-avatar is a bearded trucker. (The other
Autobots maintain the avatars we saw previously in Infiltration.)
There’s a news anchorwoman for ‘T-Span’ called Arcee Arthur.
Dressed in pink.
Dan Taylor (‘ShockDan’) takes over from ChrisCharger as
respondent to the letters page. There’s the usual cover checklist, and an ad
for 24: Nightfall amongst the TF cross-promotional items.
QUOTES OF NOTE
Prime: “Strangely, I almost hope it is the Decepticons.
Because if it’s the humans, if they already know this much about us… we’re more
exposed than we’ve ever been!”
Jazz: “I’m okay, ish. For the sake of my dented pride, I
really hope those weren’t just humans.”